When you need to turn the care of a vulnerable relative over to a licensed facility, you can expect to have mixed feelings. You may be relieved knowing they will have immediate care in a crisis, but you may also worry about potential abuse.
Like most, you may believe you can spot abuse by looking for finger-shaped bruises and other marks. Marks and bruises are signs of possible abuse, but some mishaps that seem accidental might stem from negligent supervision.
Resident elopement accidents
Many nursing home residents suffer from cognitive decline that affects their perception and reasoning abilities. If they get confused or do not know where they are, they may try to go “home” by eloping from the facility. As you might expect, this puts them at risk of potentially severe harm (pedestrian accidents, exposure to elements, etc.).
Resident fall accidents
It is relatively normal for the elderly or frail to experience an occasional fall, regardless of where they live. Still, consider seeking answers if your loved one has a particularly severe fall or multiple serious falls. There is a chance the accident may not have happened with sufficient staffing in place, especially with residents who tend to wander.
Who is responsible?
Nursing homes that are well-staffed can generally supervise residents well and prevent many fall incidents and elopements from happening. Since these facilities must comply with state or federal laws to operate legally, they may be liable for your relative’s harm.
Knowledge about federal and New Mexico nursing facility regulations may help you ensure your loved one is safely supervised wherever they reside. If abuse or neglect is already harming them, legal guidance may help you resolve the matter and protect your family member from further harm.